Franciacorta is located in the north of Italy, north-east of Milan in the province of Brescia. They have been making wine here for centuries, millenia even, however, they are now best known for their production of sparkling wines - the use of the word 'spumante' is forbidden in the region. First accreditation came in 1967 with DOC for the Pinot di Franciacorta. DOCG status was established in 1995, for their classic method production.
Main varieties: Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir.
There are five types of vinification/wines produced which are strictly controlled: base, rosé, Satèn (2008 specification), Millesimato and Riserva.
Production must be kept to below 10 tons per hectare (except in particularly good years when special rules apply).
Base wine yield limited to 65% e.g. 65l wine for 100kg grapes harvested.
Millesimato produced only in exceptional years from grapes harvested that year.
Riserva is a Millesimato aged longer on its lees.
Rosé wines must have a minimum of 25% Pinot Noir.
Satèn: this wine has a lower pressure of up to a maximum of 5 atmospheres which contributes to its sensation of satiny mouthfeel. It is only made in brut format. No Pinot Nero is present in the blend.
Stoppers must be of cork only.
Zero dosage produced with no sugar added an effective content of 3g/l. (Franciacorta DOCG, Rosé, Millesimato and Reserve)
Extra brut: up to 6g/l (Franciacorta DOCG, Rosé, Millesimato and Riserva)
Brut: 15g/l (Franciacorta DOCG, Rosé, Satèn, Millesimato and Riserva)
Extra dry: 20g/l (Franciacorta DOCG, Rosé, Millesimato)
Sec (dry) 17-35g/l (Franciacorta DOCG, Rosé)
Demi-sec: 33-50g/l. (Franciacorta DOCG, Rosé)
satèn, rosé, Millesimato, riserva (Chardonnay and/or Pinot nero, may be present with a max of 50% Pinot bianco).
For new plantations or re-plantations the density of vines may not exceed 4,500 vines/hectare with a maximum distance between the vines of 2.5m, and terraced or high gradient soils the density may not be inferior to 2,500 vines/hectare.
Wineries are allowed to produce Franciacorta millesimato (vintage) and Riserva (reserve) if obtained from at least 85% of the wine of the references year. In particular years, with poor weather conditions, the Consortium may prohibit the production of vintage wine.
Wines from the date of the draw (bottled) begin a minimum period of aging on the lees until the disgorgement, as follows:
"Franciacorta" 18 months
"Franciacorta" Rosé 24 months
"Franciacorta" Saten 24 months
"Franciacorta" millesimato 30 months
"Franciacorta" riserva 60 months